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April 18, 2024: Earth Day | Arbor Day Edition

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Posted on: April 18, 2024

Salutations, Streetcar Suburbs!

Welcome to the Streetcar Spotlight — Earth Day | Arbor Day Edition.

Now that many of us have just contemplated our place in the universe during last week’s solar eclipse, we’re heading into Earth Day weekend. The official theme for 2024 is “Planet vs. Plastics,” fitting locally in light of the train derailment and resulting plastic pellet spill last fall in Hyattsville, and new scientific research suggesting microplastics contribute to heart disease, strokes, and early deaths. Yikes! Don’t panic, columnist Julliete Fradin can help get you started in your plastic-reduction journey in her recurring Life & Times column “Zero Waste of Time.”

Got any special Earth Day plans this year? Tell us what you’re up to, from clean-ups to celebrations, in our related Facebook posts (HL&TCPH&N, & Laurel)!

Click “view in browser” or HERE to see the full version with UPCOMING EVENTS.

Warm Fuzzies

Shout-out to Gaby from Casey Trees — in partnership with Prince George’s County — who came by for a site visit last week to evaluate our yard for free shade trees funded by a county program. Her knowledge and expertise helped me pick species that would be just right aesthetically and practically for each location, and sometime this fall, we’ll be thrilled to welcome three large ~10 foot shade-tree saplings total — a catalpa, sweet gum, and tulip poplar — at zero cost and no effort (on our part!). I can’t recommend this enough — tell your neighbors! Tell your friends!

Got a kudos for a local business or government office/employee? Send it to us to potentially be included in the next newsletter!

Local News in a Nutshell: Original Reporting & Analysis

Hollywood CP Farmers Market

The fresh-air Hollywood Farmers Market features produce, seafood and meat, and local crafts.
Courtesy of Julie Beavers

First up, the Hollywood Farmers Market in College Park survived the proverbial chopping block to open for the spring season once again on April 13, at least for now. In February, some city leaders questioned the continued use of city funds to prop up the small, under-attended market. Though the proposed increase to $30,000 in 2025 is low relative to other items, leaders said it’s more than similar cities spend on their markets. When Mayor Fazlul Kabir pointed out that roughly 100 residents wrote passionately in favor of keeping the market going, City Manager Kenny Williams replied, “If the number of people who wrote to you … came [to the market], it would double the number of people who go.”

Virtual Meetings in Hyattsville

The Hyattsville City Council chambers from several years ago — fittingly — empty
Courtesy of the City of Hyattsville

Speaking of mayors, Hyattsville Mayor Robert Croslin responded to last month’s editorial in the Life & Times calling for a return to some in-person council meetings, as surrounding cities have done, with a letter of his own. He acknowledged the desire for a return to public in-person meetings, but says the technology to properly film, archive, and livestream in-person meetings only exists in the council chambers, which are closed for renovations. He believes the result will be worth the indeterminate wait. What do you think?

Laurel Racetrack to Close

A 1953 overhead photo of Laurel Park.
Courtesy of Laurel Historical Society

If horse racing isn’t your passion, you’d be forgiven for just learning there’s a major racetrack in Laurel, but the industry actually contributes over $2 billion to the Maryland economy. The good news is, Laurel gets to host The Preakness for two years before shutting down while the Baltimore racetrack that usually hosts it gets renovated. If that sounds like a big deal, it is; but then it will close for good by 2027. Interestingly, Laurel’s racetrack had double the attendance of Baltimore’s in recent years and triple the wagering total, but still didn’t make the cut.

Laurel Union Negotiations

Kate Wright, administrative assistant with the Laurel Department of Public Works, addressed the Laurel City Council on Monday, March 27.
Courtesy of James Matheson

Rounding out this edition’s city government coverage is some spicy rhetoric up in Laurel over the city’s negotiations with the union representing its Department of Public Works employees. After several failed attempts, the city requested an impasse hearing, where the council voted to approve a 5% wage increase. Raymun Lee, special assistant to the president of UFCW Local 1994, said the wage increase was progress, but he accused the mayor of being “a dishonest, disgruntled person who doesn’t care about his work force,” in part because he didn’t attend the negotiations. Mayor Keith Syndor said in an interview that “most mayors don’t attend bargaining meetings.”

What do you think? Check out your paper’s Facebook posts on some of the above issues to weigh in (HL&TCPH&N, & Laurel).

My Top 5 Local Twitter Tidbits (okay, “X”)

  1. Prince George’s County began a new “Safe Passage” to schools pilot initiative in response to an increase in youth violence. Adult volunteers will monitor intersections as students travel from six middle and high schools, including Bladensburg HS. Organizers hope posting watchful adults along school routes will deter traffic accidents and discourage fighting, bullying and other misbehavior. @postlocal (The Washington Post)
  2. PGFD responded to a Carbon Monoxide Leak at Hillhaven senior care facility in Beltsville Monday morning and found elevated levels of CO. 18 residents and 10 staff members were evaluated. Two residents were transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening symptoms.  @PGFDNews
  3. A person was shot and critically wounded outside Bowlero in College Park last Thursday, shortly after 10pm. The victim’s identity, including age and sex, have not yet been released. PGPD is urging anyone with information related to the shooting to contact them with tips. @WUSA9
  4. National Archives unveiled a new digitization center in College Park last Friday. The agency will be digitizing its more than 13 billion paper records up to 10 times faster with the new center. Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Reps. Steny Hoyer and Glenn Ivey worked to secure $120 million in appropriations for the new center. @thedbk (The Diamondback)
  5. The City of Laurel is hiring for multiple positions including several part time and seasonal positions. For info on these positions and to apply, click here@cityoflaurel

That’s about it for this round of The Spotlight, although speaking of lights, were you one of hundreds of people who reported seeing this bright fireball last Saturday night from New York to Virginia? (photo from “Mark K.”) NASA has confirmed it was a meteor, but isn’t it fun to wonder?

Thanks for all of you who’ve sent in such engaging comments and notes. Keep sending me those emails with questions or comments on the newsletter!

Heather Marléne Zadig, Newsletter Editor

Upcoming Events

Unless marked with an “$,” events listed do not charge admission.

Thurs. April 18-20, var. times. Moving With Screens + Machines: A Symposium on Embodied Practices and Technology at The University of Maryland. A 3-day summit bringing together students, researchers, and practitioners working at the intersection of the arts and embodied technology.

Fri. April 19

7-10pm. The Hyattsville Jazz Collective at Maryland Meadworks, Hyattsville, featuring Chris Barrick on drums! He’ll be swinging with usual suspects Mike Cemprola, Luke Brandon, Ben Thomas, and Chris Ziemba through their favorite originals and arrangements!

7-10pmTommy Lepson & The Bad Dawgs at The New Deal Café in Greenbelt: having performed 3 times at the Clinton White House and with such luminaries as the Righteous Brothers and Chuck Berry eleven-time WAMMIE-winner Tommy Lepson brings his roots Americana band, Bad Dawgs, for a fantastic night of original and funky covers that will leave you wanting more! Tip the band.

8-10pm. $ Mark Wade Trio at Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel. Dynamic bassist and composer Mark Wade returns to Montpelier Arts Center for a night of jazz. Called one of the preeminent musicians of his generation (UK Vibe Magazine), Wade has been acclaimed for his distinctive writing and arranging style.

Fri. April 19-26, var. times. $ Are We At War Yet?: Kogod Theater at UMD. With an air of wit and a twinge of anxiety, Mikhail Durnenkov’s dark comedy is a distinctly Russian narrative exploring everyday issues like the threat of war and the psychological effects of propaganda.

Sat. April 20

12-4pm. $ Beaglefest Maryland at New Carrollton Dog Park. Dogs will get unleashed time with other beagles. Beagle-themed merchandise of all types available! All dogs welcome. Funds will help BREW (Beagle Rescue, Education and Welfare) find homes for rescued beagles. Event co-hosted by BREW and the City of New Carrolton’s Animal Control Department.

1-4pm. City of College Park’s CanDUCK-y Derby at the Old Parish House. This Kentucky Derby style party celebrates spring with a rubber duck race. Donate a canned food to receive a rubber duck racer. Strut in Derby attire while cheering your racer to the finish line! Prizes will be awarded for fastest duck, “Best Derby Hat,” & “Best Derby Tie.” Live music from a Dixieland jazz band, food & beer for purchase.

4-9pm. Hyattsville’s 138th Anniversary Celebration! Party with your neighbors at the Anniversary Festival at Driskell Park, 3911 Hamilton St. Enjoy family entertainment, music, food, games, and fireworks at dusk!

Sun. April 21

10:30-11am. Celebrate Earth Day at The Hotel at the University of Maryland. Grab your kids, some gardening gloves and your green thumb to build succulent gardens on April 21, 2024, at The Hotel at the University of Maryland. Pots and succulents provided; BYO spirit of Earth Day. Register to secure a spot.

1-3pm. Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. Learn how you can explore your environment as a volunteer scientist with GLOBE Observer and make connections to NASA satellite data. You’ll learn to take your own observations, and share hands-on activities to help you understand the data and why it’s important. Ages 5-10 are best.

1-3pm. The 55th Annual Laurel Art Guild Juried Exhibition Public Reception at Montpelier Arts Center. Organized by the Laurel Art Guild, this annual exhibit showcases works by artists ages 18 and older who live near the Washington metropolitan area. The exhibit includes paintings, drawings, photographs, wall-hung sculptures, collages, & more.

6-8pm. $ Coreyah at Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mt. Rainier. A psychedelic Korean folk music group that integrates traditional Korean instruments, vocals, guitar, & percussion in a new style of Korean music that blends contemporary ethnic and popular sounds while still maintaining the distinctive characteristics of traditional Korean instruments.

Wed. April 24 

4:30-7:30pm. Middle-Earth Day at Hyattsville branch library. Celebrate Earth Day by discussing how reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” helps to think about our place in the world. Decorate your own Hobbit door before a showing of “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” movie, rated PG-13. Parents/guardians must accompany anyone under the age of 13. Register online.

5-7pm. Taste the Competition Happy Hour at Pizzeria Paradiso, Hyattsville. Homebrew competitors & IPA lovers for a special happy hour to taste samples of the entries while supplies last. Enjoy happy hour prices & a special homebrew celebration.

8pm. UMD Percussion Ensemble Concert, Dekelboum Concert Hall. Usually positioned at the back of the orchestra, members of the percussion section move center stage to reveal the colorful, melodic potential of their instruments in this striking concert of contemporary music.

Wed. April 24 and May 1, 6-9pm. $$$ Introduction to Etching at Pyramid Atlantic in Hyattsville—Register by 4/18. A 2-day workshop introduces participants to creating intaglio prints from copper plates. It will cover basic techniques including drypoint, hard ground line etching, plate preparation, and printing.

Thurs. April 25, 7-10pm. Television Bonfire at Maryland Meadworks in Hyattsville. Plumtastic vibes: Live music, all ages show (mead + mocktails). Tipping encouraged.

Fri. April 26, 7pm. The Roustabouts perform live at Streetcar 82 in Hyattsville. The Roustabouts, celebrating their 20th anniversary year, feature fiddle-infused blues, blues-rock, r&b and more. Fiddling provided by Hyattsville’s own Pete Daniels.

Fri. April 26, 27 to May 19, var. times. $ Avenue Q at Laurel Mill Playhouse. Winner of the Tony “Triple Crown” for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, the laugh-out-loud musical tells the story of a recent college grad named Princeton, who moves into a shabby New York apartment on Avenue Q. (Not for kids.)

Sat. April 27

8am-Noon. PG County Growing Green with Pride Day, various locations. Help clean and beautify the county in a day of spring cleaning, weed removal, and litter pick-up. Register by Friday, April 19.

9:30-11am. Hyattsville Ward 1 Check-In followed by Trolley Trail Cleanup! Meet at The Spot park, 4505 Hamilton St. Trash bags and gloves will be provided. You do not need to be a Ward 1 resident to join in! For questions or concerns, please contact wa***@hy*********.org.

10am-2pm. Family Day at American Legion Laurel Post 60. This event is open to everyone in the Laurel community! Enjoy STEM experiences, games, refreshments, and more! 2 Main St.

10am-4pm. Maryland Day at UMD College Park. Five learning neighborhoods. Hundreds of activities. One unforgettable day of fun and discovery. Bring family & friends to the University of Maryland’s annual springtime open house. Parking on campus is FREE on Maryland Day. Complimentary shuttle service will be available.

10am-4pm. Annual Montpelier Festival of Herbs, Tea, and the Arts, Montpellier House Museum. Picnic Tea Boxes available for purchase until 4/25. Welcome spring at this fun festival for the entire family. Vendors on the grounds, live music in the Music Tent, gardening talks, museum tours, and Picnic Tea Boxes with finger sandwiches, pastries and a scone inside (order ahead).

1-3pm. Family Science Adventure at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Bring your family along for a group exploration of NASA science and engineering! An in-person program to solve problems and create discoveries around NASA subjects. Registration is required. Recommended for adults and children ages 6 & up.

2-4pm. Chess Club at Bladensburg branch library, hosted by the Cheverly Parent Resource Center (CPRC). Held in the Meeting Room. Learn to play or improve your chess game. All ages are welcome!

8pm. $ Rocky Horror Picture Show at Greenbelt Cinema. Sponsored by the Greenbelt Honk! Situation, performing in the center before the show. RHPS attire and costumes encouraged! Live shadowcast in attendance! NO OUTSIDE PROPS – support the shadowcast by purchasing prop bags on site.

Wed. May 1, 5:30pm. Final Jazz Showcase: UMD Jazz Ensemble, UMD Jazz Lab Band and University Jazz Band at Dekelboum Concert Hall. Family-favorite jazz concert marking the end-of-year finale for the UMD School of Music’s jazz ensembles!



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